While the temperatures in the valley were starting on their glidepath to the cooler fall days, we experienced a hiccup this week. Temperatures popped back up into the 80s. With the lower water levels in the Saco, this meant that midday fishing would be marginal.
I sent a text to Tom Freedman, owner of Top Notch Flyfishing, asking if the remote ponds in the Errol area were cool enough to fish. The answer back was an affirmative, water temperatures were safe to fish for trout.
After doing a few chores around the house, I loaded the float tube, waders, boots, and kick fins into the truck. The rods of choice for this trip were the Scott Radian with an Orvis Depth Charge line and the Temple Fork Finesse with a Cortland Trout Boss floating line. Loaded my fly vest with a dry fly box, a traditional wet fly box, a new age wet fly box, and a streamer box.
It had been several years since I had ventured into my pond of choice. Many time things change in ponds. Spring holes dry out. New trees fall into the pond. Beavers raise their dam heights. More aquatic plants have grown in the pond. I wanted to be fully prepared.
When you are driving into the Great North Woods, there are no places to “pick up” a few things that were forgotten. Driving miles into the woods and then hiking into the remote location leaves little room for error.
The drive to Errol went without a hitch. It is a nice leisurely drive along the mighty Androscoggin River. The Androscoggin water level was very low this day. The summer drought had obviously taken its toll.
Heading out of Errol, I looked for the woods road that would take me to my secret water. I drove past the road on the first pass but found it on the return trip. There was heavy grass growing down the middle of the road. A good sign that not too many anglers had traveled this way.
I turned on the GPS so as not to drive past the pond. I did not want to waste valuable fishing time driving old logging roads. There would only be a few hours to fish and I had plans to hit another remote pond before heading home.
The walk to the pond was uneventful. The only difference from my last visit was the plethora of boats stashed pond side. This is a long time tradition of the old time anglers. A tradition that appeared to be alive and well at this remote location.
Many of the boats had not been moved in some time. It is always easy to tell when boats have been idol. The pine needles and the half chewed pine cones from the red squirrels are a dead giveaway that a boat has not been used recently.
I rigged up the Radian, put on the waders and boots, stashed the Finesse and my hiking boots, put on my fins, and slid into the pond. On a warm day, there is nothing like floating around a nice cool, spring fed pond. That in and of itself had made the trip worthwhile.
On my first cast of a little brook trout bucktail, I was fast to a spunky 10-inch wild brook trout. The fish was gorgeous. For the next three hours it was non stop action catching these amazing jewels.
Each trout was fat and strong. The best catch was a monster 13-inch fish. It was absolute madness.
And the other pond. That will have to wait for another time.
Tip of the Week
Pre-spawn brook trout can be super aggressive. Fish with bright-colored streamers or wet flies to take advantage of this aggressiveness.
Steve Angers, a native to the Conway area, is the author of the acclaimed book “Fly Fishing New Hampshire’s Secret Waters” and operates the North Country Angler.